The customer from Penrith called us in to see if we could improve the appearance of their Red Sandstone hallway floor. Several weeks earlier it had been covered in mud and water from flooding. Once the flood waters had subsided the floor was given a general clean, but the stone looked terrible and completely washed out.

Flood Damaged Red Sandstone Hallway before Cleaning Penrith

Its important to let everything dry out before attempting any renovation work and this is especially the case with Stone and Clay tiles. When the floors this bad there’s no point trying to get a decent clean just by using chemicals alone, so we often offer a system we have perfected at Tile Doctor called “Milling”. We discussed the project in detail with the client and agreed a price and a time to complete the work.

Flood Damaged Red Sandstone Hallway before Cleaning Penrith Flood Damaged Red Sandstone Hallway before Cleaning Penrith

Restoring Flood Damaged Red Sandstone

Milling pads are encrusted with very coarse industrial diamonds and allow you to cut deeper into the stone than the burnishing pads we use for polishing. We use them to remove a thin layer of stone from the floor to reveal new stone underneath.

Tile Doctor supply these pads in different sizes, types and grits and on this occasion, we used a 17 inch 200-grit milling pad fitted to a Numatic buffing machine running on low speed. Extra weight was added to the machine to improve the depth of clean and the process was lubricated with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go. The edges were then cleaned with a set of handheld Diamond Blocks which allow you to get right into the corners. Once the whole floor had been treated it was rinsed with water and the soiling extracted with a wet vacuum.

The Sandstone floor was then given an acid rinse using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up to remove stone resins and neutralise alkaline salts which can build up in the stone and present themselves as White Efflorescence later. The floor was then given a final rinse and dried as much as possible with the wet vacuum before allowing it to dry off overnight.

Sealing Red Sandstone Flooring

The stone floor was left to dry out for a full 24 hours and we called back on the 3rd day to apply a coat of Tile Doctor X-Tra Seal, which is an oil-based sealer that improves colour and structure to the stone. This product is fully breathable and rated for external use and so will cope with any further dampness coming up from the ground.

The sealer really brought out the true red colour of the Sandstone and completely transformed its appearance. The customer has only lived in the house a short time and had no idea of what colour the stone should be as it was Grey when they moved in.

Re-Pointing Red Sandstone Flooring

It was quite rewarding to bring the stone back to life and to finish the renovation of the floor our attention turned to the pointing which had been compromised by the flooring and was in a bad state.

The old pointing was carefully knocked out and after cleaning up the floor was re-pointed using a modern breathable pointing product called VDW 800 which comes in four different colours, it’s very easy to apply, copes well with wide gaps and fully hardens in 48 hours.

Traditionally a Lime mortar was used for this but there are several draw backs with this as it never really sets, and if you mop or clean the floor then traces of White pointing stain the stone. This is very noticeable on darker stones and secondly, it’s difficult to work with and remove after it has dried.

Flood Damaged Red Sandstone Hallway after Renovation Penrith Flood Damaged Red Sandstone Hallway after Renovation Penrith

All in all, the Sandstone floor responded very well to our restoration methods and sealer, needless to say the customer was very happy with the result. For aftercare cleaning of Sandstone flooring I recommend the use of Neutral Tile Cleaner which is gentle enough not to impact the sealer yet an effective floor cleaning product that can be used regularly.

Flood Damaged Red Sandstone Hallway after Renovation Penrith


Source: Sandstone Cleaning and Restoration Service in Penrith